Behind the Scenes with Dale and His Snowmaking Team

As the 2017-2018 winter season gets closer, the snowmaking team at Arizona Snowbowl is ready. After a summer of repairing, replacing, and cleaning parts, Dale Haglin and his crew placed the snow guns along the slopes for their inaugural tests. After testing was complete and the snow guns were strategically placed, the waiting game for cooler temperatures began.

Dale Haglin, Director of Mountain Operations

On September 23rd, thanks to the efficient work by Dale and his team, Snowbowl became the first resort in the country to begin making snow. While the temperatures have stayed high in October, the crew has continued to make snow as the weather permits. By now, snow has been blown on the Logjam and Wild Turkey runs, with Midway Catwalk and Round Up to Lower Northstar next in line, which allows us to open Grand Canyon Express.

Dale’s snowmaking supervisor, John Nichols, gave us a behind-the-scenes look at the snowmaking process, from the 10-million gallon reservoir of water, to the warehouse full of incoming-and-outgoing pipes, to the main computer (the “brain”) that controls all of the equipment.

From his main computer, John can lower the temperature of the reservoir water. The colder the water, the better the product. This means we can make more snow. Because the reservoir of water sits under the Arizona sun all day, John will typically pull water from the top, hot layer to be forced through cooling pipes in the warehouse, only to be piped back into the reservoir to maintain an overall reduced temperature.

In this photo, you’ll see John using a control pad to turn on the cooling process for the reservoir water.

Another photo from the warehouse. Note the extreme organization that goes into running a snowmaking operation.

Here’s an image of John at the main computer. This technology not only lets him see the live status of each snow gun, it allows him to turn them on or off with the simple push of a button.

This map shows the placement of each snow gun on the mountain.

Here’s an inside look at John’s toolkit, prepared with insulated tools.

As the countdown continues, the Dale and his team continue to make snow whenever possible. Thanks to our state-of-the-art technology and outstanding mountain crew, Snowbowl is prepping for opening day!